Noise-Induced Breakdown of the Michaelis-Menten Equation in Steady-State Conditions

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The Michaelis-Menten (MM) equation is the basic equation of enzyme kinetics; it is also a basic building block of many models of biological systems. We build a stochastic and microscopic model of enzyme kinetics inside a small subcellular compartment. Using both theory and simulations, we show that intrinsic noise induces a breakdown of the MM equation even if steady-state metabolic conditions are enforced. In particular, we show that (i) given a reaction velocity, deterministic rate equations can severely underestimate steady-state intracellular substrate concentrations and (ii) different reaction schemes which on a macroscopic level are indistinguishable because they are described by the same MM equation obey distinctly different equations in subcellular compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number218103
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2009


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